HMRC - Inspection

How does Resolver work?

Explains your rights to you

You'll find no legal jargon in our simple, comprehensive consumer rights sections. Our guidance is tailored specifically for every type of issue.

Helps you prepare your emails

We provide a wide range of flexible email templates for you to adapt to your needs – just slot in the specific details for your case, and in a few short clicks your issue will be ready to go.

Creates a case file for you

Your case file is a secure online location for all important documents regarding your issue. You can upload photos, tickets, copies of receipts or external emails from before you raised your issue with Resolver.

Lets you record all your communications

One of the most important aspects of a complicated issue is keeping a record of all your correspondence regarding the complaint – Resolver does this for you automatically.

Lets you know when to escalate your complaint

If you’re not satisfied with the initial response from the organisation you have an issue with, our escalation process will let you know when you can raise your complaint to the next level of seniority and, ultimately to an ombudsman or regulator, where appropriate.

HMRC should give you 7 days’ notice before they inspect your VAT records. If not, they should contact you before the visit to agree a time and date.

HMRC can, under certain circumstances, make an unannounced visit.

HMRC should get tribunal approval before carrying out an unannounced visit. If you try and stop an unannounced inspection from entering your business, you may be hit with a penalty if the visit was authorised by a tribunal. 

You may be inspected more often or less, depending on how complex your business is.

The law says an inspection can only take place if it is reasonably required to check your tax.

You may have to pay a penalty if there are problems with your VAT, although these should be reduced if you work with HMRC to correct any problems.

HMRC cannot search the premises – they are only allowed to carry out an inspection. This means that the inspector can only look at the premises, and the inspection should be limited to only what they have asked to see.

HMRC is given powers by Schedule 36, legislation that says exactly what an inspector can do. HMRC will most often present this when making an unannounced visit. In theory, you can refuse inspectors entry under Sch. 36 if it wasn’t approved by a tribunal – but be warned, if HMRC deems you to be obstructing a tribunal-approved inspection, you will be issued a penalty of around £300.

If your business is run from your home address, HMRC can come to your home.

HMRC is allowed to require you to give information if they need it to check your tax position. They can only request information that you can reasonably give. 

If you have been visited by HMRC, you should always ask for confirmation that they are who they say they are. Always read any documentation offered and check who sent the inspectors.

You should know
  • You should always try and resolve any problems with HMRC by talking with the person who has been dealing with you first.
  • If this is impossible or has not resolved your issue, you should use Resolver to contact them.
  • HMRC operates a tiered complaints system. Complaints will go through two tiers of service.
  • If you are still unhappy, you can ask your MP to escalate your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman.

If you believe HMRC has not correctly followed procedure, it's always worthwhile to consider contacting them via Resolver. HMRC may offer compensation for any distress, delay, damage caused, or costs incurred by HMRC (such as the cost of having to hire an accountant).

It's worth knowing that HMRC have the right to take enforcement action to reclaim any debts (under certain conditions).

You should be aware, however, that HMRC field agents have no right of seizure. They might take note of the things you have (your assets), but they can't take any on the spot.

HMRC can level penalties for late payment. It's always worth contacting HMRC if you believe you might have been incorrectly penalised (or if serious circumstances stopped you from paying on time). HMRC will often consider any reasons you might have for late payment.

You should try and correct any mistakes with your tax as soon as possible.

Find the best rights for you

We have 4,756 pages of rights advice for you covering 7,326 companies and organisations across 17 public & private sectors. Feel free to browse companies for this specific issue - they're all listed below - but the quickest way to find the best rights for you is by using our unique Rights Finder to access our extensive database of advice.

Start by telling us the name of the company or organisation you have an issue with.

Who do you have an issue with?

Raise it for free via Resolver

Helping you with Inspection

Resolver covers the issue Inspection for 1 companies and organisations:

a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h  i   j   k   l   m   n   o   p   q   r   s   t   u   v   w   x   y   z